House Democrats call for spending bill to include expansion of housing credit

Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) arrives to the House Chamber for the last four votes of the week on July 1
Greg Nash

A group of more than 100 House Democrats is urging congressional leaders to include an expansion of the low-income housing tax credit in a forthcoming social spending package that advances President Biden’s economic agenda.

“Now is the time to expand and improve the Housing Credit to tackle America’s affordable housing crisis in a meaningful way that leads to stronger and more productive communities, greater economic mobility and job growth, as well as better educational and health outcomes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.), who both serve on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, took the lead on the letter.

The House on Tuesday adopted a Senate-passed $3.5 trillion budget plan that will allow Democrats to pass a social spending package without Republican votes. Democrats are now focusing on drafting the legislation and hope to have House committees advance the package next month. One of Biden and congressional Democrats’ priorities for the package is to spur the development of more affordable housing.

The lawmakers who wrote the letter are pushing to have a bipartisan housing bill they’ve sponsored included in the broader package. Their bill aims to strengthen the low-income housing tax credit —  a tax break for developers of affordable rental housing — by increasing state allocations of the credit, increasing the number of affordable housing projects that can be built using a type of tax-exempt bond, and making improvements so that the housing credit better serves underserved communities.

The House Democrats said their bill should be included in the $3.5 trillion package because it would benefit low-income communities in urban, suburban and rural areas, and they noted that their measure has the support of many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as from stakeholder groups.

The bill “expands, strengthens, and streamlines the vital Housing Credit program when it is sorely needed as our economy works to recover from the pandemic,” they wrote.

Tags budget resolution Housing Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Low income Nancy Pelosi Suzan DelBene Tax credit

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